I’m a country boy who came to live in a big city. Sometimes, the wall of sound, the insensate concrete, the cars, the cars, the cars and their fumes in my lungs stir an indistinct yearning deep in my soul for an Arcadian outing.
Brussels’ routes for escape are many. For example, check the Dudenpark article, Josaphat park article, Woluwepark article or the Ter Kamerenbos article. Yet, the Rood Klooster (Red Cloister) is my favorite place to appease my country soul.
The pleasures are multiple. You can enjoy a long forest walk in the surrounding Zoniënwoud (check the Sonian Forest article), along ponds, swamps and mushrooms. The domain has history as well. Some of the buildings date back to the 14th century of what was once an important, wealthy Augustinian priory. It has always been a place for artists to reside and find inspiration. The famous 15th century Flemish primitive painter Hugo van der Goes is one of them. Paul Delvaux was a regular visitor too. No wonder the Rood Klooster site today is home to an art center and Belgian artist ateliers. There is also a charming bio-brasserie – located in the old porter’s house – where you can have a yummy raclette (molten cheese) sandwich and a bio-beer. All products are organic and local.
But maybe my country craving finds its ultimate satisfaction in the farm animals such as horses, donkeys, dogs, geese and chickens running around on the site while a lovely dung heap steams in the winter cold.